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Enjoying it a lot so far but I gotta say the act of controlling Leon just feels like dogshit to me, and from the insanely positive feedback this game has been receiving without much mention of it, I don't know if I'm just a whiney baby about this stuff.
The combat mechanics are good and all, but actually moving Leon around is sluggish. He is incapable of running faster than a light jog and stumbles around like he's shitfaced. There's a delay to every step he takes and while I applaud the realistic manner Leon moves around the environment, I'm not sure that kind of realism works for a game like RE4. It wasn't as huge an issue in RE2make, where the action was way more tame and the actual game map was smaller, but I really don't like the realistic movement here. OG RE4 had stiff movement so Leon wasn't exactly an acrobat in that game either, but I prefer consistently stiff over whatever this drunken stupor is.
Also the aiming on a controller is really bad and no amount of control sensitivity tweaking is giving me a result I like. The original RE4 is quite possibly the MOST responsive third-person shooter of all time, so this is a big step down. I don't if the aiming feels like this because of that realism I spoke on, or if I'm just having controller issues, but regardless it's been a huge headache. Hoping I can set up gyro on PC to alleviate this issue, since switching to M+KB feels bad for completely different reasons, even if I get better aiming.
Hoping I adjust to it because otherwise this is a ace remake. Feels like Capcom used the lessons learned with RE8 to reimagine RE4 in a fresh way, almost feels like Village was made just to pave the way for this remake in some ways. I'm glad they tried to change things up this much instead of just trying and failing to replicate the original, even if I'll probably end this playthrough still preferring the OG.
This review contains spoilers
Coming back to this game after almost a decade kinda had me questioning why I looked back on the cases on display so fondly. Maybe it's because it was the first game of its kinda I had played, but on replaying this I found the writing to be all over the place. Rather than a more complete review I just wanted to go case-by-case.
The first case is fine, a good intro to the series and since it's the first case in the series I don't really have any hangups on it being so short and simple.
The second case loses me entirely. I remember being very shocked at the death of Mia when I first played, but in retrospect her death was WAY too premature for the game's own good. The entire case hinging on Mia needing to possess her sister just to tell Phoenix to LOOK AT THE OTHER SIDE OF A RECEIPT is dumb as hell, and I don't think Phoenix being a rookie is a good enough excuse for this level of stupidity. Redd White is built up as this giant force that has the police and the courts at his beck-and-call, but ultimately he proves to be shockingly incompetent and ends up being wasted potential.
Not much to say about Case 3, for better or for worse. I think it's a decent mystery and I don't really mind having an unrelated case to break the tension.
Cases 4 and 5 are pretty good in my opinion. Not because the mystery itself was particularly well-executed, but because of the characters of Edgeworth and Manfred Von Karma just being so damn entertaining to watch. Von Karma is a cartoon villain which makes for an appropriate end to the first game. I think the final cases tie things up nicely and create a nice, neat arc for Edgeworth, so I'd say it ends on a high note.
I did however have a frustrating moment when trying to recall how Manfred killed Gregory; it made sense to me that Von Karma would seek to intentionally seek out and remove the second bullet from the crime-scene in order to implicate Miles as the murderer, but when I tried to go down that line of thinking I ended up with a game over because the game wanted me to figure out the FAR more outlandish theory that the second bullet was IN Von Karma's shoulder this whole time. It just goes to show that Ace Attorney isn't really about being a good detective, but just about picking the right item and trying to guess what insane theory Phoenix is thinking that will ultimately turn out to be right. I'm sure most people can relate to this frustration if they've ever played these games, and it's unfortunate that the player can figure out the mystery too early and be railroaded while the cast plays catch-up, or that you could come up with a theory that makes perfect sense, only for the game to shoot you down with no explanation.
The bonus case is probably my favorite on offer and it really feels like Damon Gant is the type of character that Redd White should've been; a cunning man with the law at his disposal, and working with Edgeworth to bring him down feels way better than Mia giving you the answer.
Overall though I think what carries Phoenix Wright isn't the quality of it's writing, but rather it's characters and how they interact. Edgeworth's stuffiness peeling away to reveal a vulnerable, flawed man. Phoenix's go-get-em attitude as he basically stumbles his way through each case by bidding for time and throwing out theories he knows is wrong. Maya's bubbly personality and how she riffs off of Nick. Von Karma's regal demeanor being revealed to be a cover for his more immature, bitter side. Gumshoe being a well-meaning idiot and his bromance with Edgeworth. And the Judge being a loveable moron who has NO right being the judge of anything. This wonderful cast comes together to create a fun story that wraps together nicely. It may be the most inaccurate depiction of any sort of justice system committed to a game, but it's a game I have a REALLY hard time disliking.
Watching the sparse trailers leading up to release and not much else, I definitely expected this game to lean way more into it's Wario Land inspirations. Don't get me wrong, the game is very much a love-letter to Wario Land, 4 especially, but I definitely wasn't expecting as much high-speed platforming out of this game. Pizza Tower feels like a cross between Wario Land 4 and something akin to the Sonic Advance games, and honestly I think that result is way more interesting than if the game played it safe and just made a straight-forward Wario Land successor.
The stages are great and each have a fun central mechanic to differentiate them (I especially loved the Golf level and the FNAF parody.) They introduce an interesting mechanic, flesh it out a bit and then end the level before any sort of fatigue settles in, and the escape sequence is one of the most genius ways to end a platforming level while testing the player's memory of the level, and it will always blow my mind this mechanic wasn't adopted much after WL4. Combined with the excellent high speed controls it gives Pizza Tower a breakneck pacing that keeps up all the way through to the finale. The animation also sells this frantic energy with its fluid 90s gross-out cartoon style and ,combined with the powerups, (usually contextualized as something terrible happening to Peppino) really sells this as a wacky adventure with a protagonist who is equal parts bumbling idiot and acrobatic master. I also think this game makes great use of it's status as an unrated indie game, allowing the game to dive into weird, crude or disturbing imagery that Wario Land 4 could never fully commit to due to its status as a Nintendo game, but always hinted at. Oh and the music is fucking insane, utilizing some great sampling and maintaining a high energy throughout the whole game, the escape theme especially is one of the catchiest songs I've heard in a game.
The bosses were also surprisingly fun and represented the biggest difficulty spikes in the game. I spent an embarrassing amount of time on a couple of these bosses, but they all felt fair and had a lot of charm, the third and fourth bosses especially. I almost wish there were bosses that made better use of the powerups in a unique way, but I also appreciate the relatively straightforward battles as a way of breaking up the platforming.
My only major gripe with the game is that, while incredibly fluid and fun, the controls felt unreliable at times. I played with a Dualshock 4 and encountered quite a few bad inputs, partly due to my own incompetence, but also because I think this game has very sensitive controls which don't play too nice with a joystick or the crummy dpad a lot of modern controllers have. This feels more like a game made for the binary inputs of a keyboard, but I just don't like playing 2d platformers on a keyboard, so I'm left having to choose between multiple less-than-ideal control schemes. If controller settings got tweaked or I found a controller that suited the game better, I'd have zero issues bumping this up to five stars and really commiting to P-ranking every stage, but as it is now I think that would frustrate me more than anything.
Overall though this is a stellar 2D platformer and an excellent love letter to Wario Land 4 that, at times, surpasses its inspiration and feels like a true evolution of that game's formula. I think Wario Land 4 had the slightly better stages and was a little more consistently enjoyable, but coming up a hair short of one of the best 2D platformers EVER is really not something to shake a stick at.